Hornets put the stingers on Santa Clara

Connor Ashford

The Sacramento State softball team crushed non-conference foe Santa Clara on Wednesday afternoon, finishing the Bears off by a final score of 9-0 in just five innings.

Sac State got the scoring started in the bottom of the first. Second baseman Zamari Hinton laid down a bunt base hit and designated player Sasha Margulies got on via a Santa Clara error before a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly brought in Hinton to give the Hornets a 1-0 lead.

Hornet starting pitcher Celina Matthias worked her way around a couple base runners in each of the early frames. A 1-on, 2-out single to first baseman Jessica Ravetti nearly put Santa Clara in position to score, but a head-up play by Ravetti to gun down the runner trying to advance to third ended the frame.

“When I got the ball, I saw that she was safe at first, and I looked at second and she wasn’t there and then thankfully my teammates called three quick enough… I just threw to three and luckily Kailey [Olcott] jumped up and caught the ball and stuck with her,” Ravetti said.

The Santa Clara offense got two more base runners against Matthias the rest of the game. Back-to-back 2-out singles put a runner in scoring position for the Bears, but Matthias buckled down and got the next batter to strike out swinging. That was it for the Santa Clara offense, as Matthias finished the game without allowing another base runner. She finished with the complete game to go along with eight strikeouts and no walks allowed.

Sac State quietly went 1-2-3 in the second inning. The third saw shortstop Sydney Rasmussen lead off the inning with a hit-by-pitch and advancing to second on a Sasha Margulies single to right, with both advancing off a double steal. But the next batter fouled out to end the threat and keep the score at 1-0.

The bottom of the fourth, however, was where the Hornets started to rally. Catcher Kortney Solis led off the frame with a double to left before the next two batters flied out, including center fielder Shelby Johnston getting robbed of an RBI double by a great diving catch in right by Santa Clara. Johnston came up again later in the frame and hit an RBI single to shortstop to bring in the Hornets’ seventh run of the inning, refusing to get robbed again by hustling to beat the throw to first.

“I felt more confident with that [flyout], and so it took me to my next at-bat, which gave me confidence to hit there,” Johnston said.

With two outs, the Sac State offense would explode for eight runs in the inning, batting around the lineup and then some to extend the score to 9-0. None of the runs were earned, as Santa Clara committed two errors in the inning to give the Hornets extra outs that they would take advantage of. Every hitter contributed to the fourth inning outburst, showcasing the depth the Hornets have in their starting lineup.

“I think we capitalized on their mistakes, and obviously forced them to throw strikes, and I think we did a really good job capitalizing on that,” Perez said.

Matthias finished Santa Clara (7-31) off in order in the fifth to give Sac State the win in just five innings, invoking the mercy rule after their eight-run outburst.

The Hornets have won four straight games, five of six total. Sac State (19-15) continues its home stand with three games this weekend against conference foe Southern Utah, with a doubleheader on Friday afternoon at Shea Stadium.